Robin Rhode will be participating in Making Africa – A continent of contemporary Design at Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein
“On the basis of a wide variety of examples, »Making Africa« shows how design is accompanying – and even promoting – economic and political change on the continent and engaging in a close dialogue with related disciplines, such as the fine arts, graphic design, illustration, film, photography, architecture and urban planning. A central role is played by the new media, which made this shift in perspective possible in the first place. »Making Africa« presents a plethora of work cutting across a wide variety of media, such as the eyewear sculptures by Kenyan artist Cyrus Kabiru, the furniture of Cheik Diallo from Mali and the photography of Mozambican Mário Macilau and Nigerian J.D. ’Okhai Ojeikere. It shows the architecture of Francis Kéré, David Adjaye and Kunlé Adeyemi, remarkable cardboard city models by Bodys Isek Kingelez and animation art by Robin Rhode, a South African based in Berlin.
All of the works presented are underpinned by a quest to address questions of material culture and everyday aesthetics – in short, questions of design. The objects show that design in Africa is understood on a much more inclusive level than in Western societies – and they are proof that this understanding can produce innovative new approaches to design.
The cultural historical foundations of »Making Africa« come from a retrospective look at early postcolonial Africa. Back in the 1960s, photographers such as Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé or the South African magazine »Drum« showed a continent beyond wars, crises and catastrophes. The architecture produced during those initial years of independence also epitomizes the emergence of a new era of self-confidence that dissipated over the following decades. These historical documents run through the entire exhibition where they are systematically paired with contemporary works. These comparisons demonstrate how the young generation often consciously refers to this early body of work and creates a link to the positive sentiment of this past era.”